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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Gluten Free Brewing > Using Sweet Potatoes exclusively for the enzymes
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:49 PM   #1
brewolero
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Default Using Sweet Potatoes exclusively for the enzymes

So, I live in Bolivia, where homebrew shops do not exist, it's annoyingly difficult to get things like malt and even more difficult to track down specialty ingredients like various amylases.

After looking through a whole number of threads (like this one: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f164/swe...ilites-210086/) on the use of sweet potatoes in brewing, I have this question: can I mash sweet potatoes in a few liters of water to extract the enzymes, and then add the enzymes held in that liquid to a separate mash with other adjuncts that would normally require malting in order to convert themselves? Essentially I would try to use the steps thought up by solaceBrewing here, but without using the sweet potatoes again.

Realizing this is the Gluten-free section (I'm not, but malting my own grains takes a full month), I'm wondering specifically if I could use this to convert both gluten-free grains/starches--mostly the readily available quinoa and tapioca starch--and those that do have gluten, like the raw barley and wheat that I can buy at any market.

Thoughts? Is that possible?

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Old 03-29-2012, 09:54 PM   #2
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I don't see why that wouldn't work. But, as you're in Bolivia, make sure you get the right genus of sweet potatoes--you want a species of ipomea, not a dioscorea. Mexican or south american yams tend to be of the dioscorea genus, which is totally unrelated, and I have no idea if dioscorea yams have the same kind of amylase content (or any at all). You could also try bananas, which apparently have amylase in them as well.

What I'd recommend, if you don't want to include the potatoes in the mash, is do a few mashes with the same potatoes to get as much amylase out of them as you can, and then try to concentrate the liquid via low-temperature evaporation. Don't heat above 160 or you risk denaturing the enzymes.

Doing this, I wouldn't advise you to expect comparable efficiency to malted barley, just FYI. It'll be a good bit lower. You're really better off just malting your own barley, TBH. But if you can get sweet potatoes on the super-cheap, no reason not to give it a go!

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Old 03-30-2012, 03:26 PM   #3
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A little tip:

The color of the flesh is indicative of the amount of starch in the potato. The deeper, and more orange the color, the more sugars will be present. Paler fleshed sweet potatoes will still have more sugar than regular white potatoes, but they will have more starch than the darker fleshed sweet potatoes.

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Old 04-09-2012, 03:17 PM   #4
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Hmm. The irony of it all is that I HAD malted my own barley, but I'm thinking I killed off the enzymes in the process because I ended up with OGs of like, 1.020 and later 1.004. I know my system's not THAT inefficient.

I'll probably giving malting another shot. Thanks for the advice.

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